Canada seems to be the holy grail of music that keeps on producing new fresh talent. You’re familiar with these names like Justin Bieber, Drake, The Weeknd, Jessie Reyez and Shawn Mendes. Now, get ready for the youngest by-product of the maple syrup heaven. Trouge Magazine presents Langston Francis who is dominating the 6ix sphere, and yet he’s still a high school student. Francis talks musical influence and creativity, young dreamers and his newest single ‘Fall From Grace.‘
Music speaks a universal language, and the age is no limit. Langston Francis is in the 11th grade at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, but there is no doubt he is blooming into a multi-instrumental artist. Younger singers see and feel more than the mature ones. Their perspective is endless, and it gives their music a natural touch that will be able to speak to millions.
For Francis, it all started at the age of five with a guitar as a Christmas gift from his dad. And ‘the rest is history’ as Francis said. However what kept him going was music’s ability to take feelings and translate them into art. “The thing that motivated me the most at that time was to be heard, and with music being my favourite form of expression, I naturally just kind of kept at it,” he explains.
Getting to grow up in a neighbourhood like the one of Kensington Market in Toronto, helped to shape Langston Francis into the artist, not only a singer, that he is now. This community that surrounded Francis screams with music and its varied genres from hip-hop, electronica to jazz. The creativity of this magnitude will only result in talent. Francis is a certified multi-instrumentalist, as he can play on instruments: Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, and Drum machines.
Apart from singing and songwriting, Francis enjoys moody black and white photography: “I like dark photography that’s captured in unsettling scenarios. I enjoy photography that could potentially make some people uncomfortable but draws viewers in”, he reveals.
Making unsettling photographs and not trying to fit his music into a particular category is only the evidence of Francis’ unique train of thought: “Essentially, I just want to make the music I want to hear. I feel the best music is relatable. It gives you that ‘I’m not alone’ or ‘somebody gets it’ feeling. I want to create music without worrying about how it will be perceived. Obviously, this is extremely difficult because after all, I know that I am my worst critic and I always struggle with feelings like if something is good enough to be released”, Francis on how he wants to make music.
One creative session at the age of 14, listening to an A$AP Rocky record, thinking Joe Fox would make a great sample and the debut Langston Francis single was born. Titled ‘FCKD IT UP‘ is ‘a hypnotic mix of ethereal synth, electronica, and bass-heavy beats’ that takes you on a journey through his hometown of Toronto. Whereas the lyrics talk about what many of us have gone through – ‘the doubts about forming a committed relationship’. With his first single, Francis is clearly stating he is not following any planned paths. The music video itself is shot retro following his friends, including some of Francis’ photographs.
On his second single ‘Fall From Grace,’ Francis got to work with big-time producers Pops (Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q) and Mikhail (Drake, Lil Wayne). Francis shares the story behind this collaboration: “I got connected with Pops through a friend who had shown him my music. He liked it and sent over a pack for me to listen to. A beat stood out to me, and I instantly had the idea for the melody”, he clarifies.
‘Fall From Grace‘ is a visual and sonic continuation of Langston’s debut ‘FCKD IT UP.’ It talks about ‘a toxic relationship, where you constantly find yourself begging for something, anything good between the two of you to show itself.’
The music video is directed by Adrian Bellaire and produced by Popp Rok (Director X’s Production Company). It was shot on a vintage Blox 16mm camera, that captures: “My friends and I trying to escape our normal lives in the city, with no real destination in mind, but fate had a different plan for us. What I took from it is that in life, you gotta roll with the punches”, Francis gave us a moral for the day.
Being a teenager and all, Langston Francis is aware of the opportunities the world is offering right now and predicts: “I think there is going to be an explosion of young talented artists. There has never been more art being created than right now. There has never been a support system like the one that is available right now. Young dreamers are actually free to pursue whatever, however; and some of them don’t even have to leave their hometown to do it”, Francis preaching the absolute truth here.
A homegrown Canadian company, Roots, has a long history of working with Canadian artists on their way to come up and this year Langston Francis is the first artist to join Roots’ 2018 #sweatstyle advertising campaign. Later this year, Roots will pull off an annual global initiative that celebrates Canadian talent by featuring new artists in advertising campaigns in Canada, United States, and Taiwan. In previous years, it featured names like Daniel Caesar, Jessie Reyez and Ruth B.
“It was super humbling to be chosen as an artist for this year’s campaign. What an honour. I’m excited for all the visuals that I’ll be a part of. They selected a really great group of artists this year including Killy, bülow, and Charlotte Day Wilson. Definitely keep an eye out for those three”.
Speaking of future projects, Langston confirms a new single coming out on June 8th and other songs dropping this summer. In early July, Langston will be playing at the Festival d’ete de Quebec joining names like The Weeknd, Foo Fighters, Lorde, and others.
Langston Francis aims to create a sonically cohesive body of work, that tells a story and can take his fans on a ride. Greatness takes time, and all of his fans should stand by. Still young, but Francis will catch up with other Canadian superstars in no time.